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Gingivitis: Bacterial Infection Of the Gums

Gingivitis: Bacterial Infection Of the Gums
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gum inflammation

Gingivitis is a periodontal disease, resulting from a bacterial infection of the gums that causes gum inflammation. It is incredibly common, with over 200,000 new cases every year in the U.S. alone. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, a very severe form of the condition.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is caused by plaque build-up on the teeth, often the result of poor dental hygiene. The following factors can increase the likelihood of this plaque build-up”

  • Age
  • Osteoporosis
  • Brushing teeth with stiff bristles
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Certain medications
  • Dry mouth
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Genetic factors
  • Certain pre-existing conditions
    • Type 2 Diabetes

Types of Gingivitis


This is a more severe form of gingivitis that occurs when the condition is left untreated. It can cause sore, swollen, bleeding gums. In the most serious cases, it can lead to the teeth falling out.

poor oral health

Gingivitis Symptoms

  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red or purple gums
  • Gums that are tender or painful to the touch
  • Bleeding gums or bleeding after brushing and/or flossing
  • Bad breath

Diagnosing Gingivitis

Your dentist can diagnose you with gingivitis after performing a thorough oral examination of your gums and teeth. The diagnosis is based on an assessment of the plaque build-up on the teeth and any inflammation of the gums. X-rays of the mouth may also be used to look for early signs of periodontitis.

Treating Gingivitis

The best way to begin treating gingivitis is to significantly improve your dental hygiene. This involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day and using a toothbrush with soft bristles. Medicated mouthwashes with fluoride are also effective ways to reduce gingivitis symptoms and prevent worsening of the condition. You should visit your dentist regularly for plaque removal to both reverse and prevent the development of gingivitis.

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